Bad News on Good Friday: My breast cancer diagnosis

This pic was taken on Nov. 16, 2017 about 4 months before I was diagnosed with HER2+ breast cancer.

I had been to see my doctor for a swollen lymph node under my arm, and he sent me for a mammogram. Nothing was found that day. I was told to monitor the swollen lymph node for any changes and come back in 6 to 8 weeks for a recheck.

Part of me was relieved, of course. I tried to think positive and was hopeful it was “nothing” to worry about.

I had a new position at work and the opportunity to work remotely. My husband and I were planning on spending the first few months of the new year (2018) living in Southern California…getting bad news would have been a real drag. I had big plans for us.

The next few months went by quickly until time came to a halt on March 26 when I had two biopsies and waited all week for the results.

I was diagnosed on March 30, 2018 – bad news on Good Friday. And a reminder to have faith in miracles.


BUILDING YOUR OWN SUMMER CAMP. Your own personal retreat week.

One of the reasons your mom signed you up for summer camp was to keep you on a routine while school was out. Moms have known the importance of routines forever. So have geniuses. Maybe if more of us paid attention to our routine, more of us would be geniuses.

Incorporating a routine in your life keeps you balanced in mind, body and spirit. Sounds genius to me.

Three of Seven Common Traits Found in Geniuses:

A Daily Walk or Exercise
So important – get up and get moving. I dread the drive to work because traffic is a mind waster and sitting is a killer.

A clear dividing line between important work and busywork.
Busywork  = mind wasters, yuck!

Limited social lives.
Be mindful of when to say yes or no.

One more, my favorite…

A supportive partner.


“And Andy Warhol called friend and collaborator Pat Hackett every morning, recounting the previous day’s activities in detail. “Doing the diary,” as they called it, could last two full hours — with Hackett dutifully jotting down notes and typing them up, every weekday morning from 1976 until Warhol’s death in 1987.”

What cool documentation of one’s life.

That’s only three (okay, four) of the seven common traits found in geniuses.

Read the rest of The Daily Routines of Geniuses (Sarah Green, Harvard Business Review).

Make your “routine” super fun. Build your own summer camp for yourself without even taking a day off of work. Your own personal retreat week.

Start slow, incorporate a few things so you can 1) accomplish them all 2) still allow for life to happen.

  1.    Take up SOMETHING new! Commit to making it a priority in your daily routine.

Personally, I wanted to study and learn more about the chakra system. It interests me greatly and it will give me a better foundation before I start my yoga teacher training in a few weeks (yay!).

I purchased an audio book and “studied” the chapters during my commute from home to work and back. Loved the book so much, I purchased the paperback version so I can have printed copy and make notes in it.

Not a bad way to make use of my time while I’m in traffic. I actually started to look forward to it anticipating what I’d learn next.

  1.    Your Daily Walk – this is going to look different for all of us, but that’s the best part about your Personal Retreat Week! It’s catered and customized to you and your needs.

Exercise – move. An object at rest will stay at rest. What do you expect to happen if you don’t move and take action?

Summer camp always has an exercise component! So make a commitment to moving your body at least once a day every day.

I LOVE BEING OUTSIDE! And have been wanting to jog more, so that’s my exercise piece I’m focused on this week. Got some new kicks to inspire me! And I might rope in a friend to run with me right after work.

  1.     Set a goal for yourself personally or professionally this week. Carve out some time in your daily routine to make this happen.

I signed-up for a live webinar I was super excited about and participated in. I have been interested in Rha Goddess’ work for a few years now. I felt compelled by something inside me to be a part of this conversation, especially since Take the Lead Women was hosting!

This happened and pretty much is EVERYTHING.

There is something amazing that lies at the core of each of these disciplines I encourage you to find out @1922House #reapandsow

— Rha Goddess (@RhaGoddess) July 9, 2015

Thank you, Rha! I am going to.

So – subscribe to a newsletter related to your field or your interest to generate some ideas. Make something. Spend time with someone.

Take Action.

That’s it. Only 3 things! How fun is that? You can make them exactly what you want. Your own personal retreat week and you didn’t even have to take time off of work.

Have a kick-ass personal retreat week!


Sissy’s! The long over due review

Dinner reservations were at 6:30. I was meeting two of my girlfriends. We hadn’t all gotten together in a while and none of us had tried Sissy’s yet. (Long overdue.)

 I checked us in and of course quickly went to check the bar, but my phone started buzzing just as I noticed there weren’t any seats available, so I turned around and benched it near the hostess area to check my message. After taking care of that, I looked up and what did I see – FERN PRINTS – amazing fern prints. A whole set of probably like 6 or 8 that went around the foyer like room. The perfect sized fern prints that look like they were sliced from an over-sized botany book. Exactly what I have been wanting for my formal living room (that doesn’t exist – yet) F-O-R-E-V-E-R. Instantly, Lisa Garza does not disappoint. 

Message taken care of – my friends are five minutes away. I look to the bar and what do I see? An empty seat and a familiar bartender…I’m on my way. 

I quickly regret my order of Grey Goose and soda when I see the drink menu – I wanted to one of everything, but that will have to wait until next round – there’s many a speciality drink to try. 

We’re sat on the porch, yay, my preference, in a table next to a comfy booth that I’d love to have in my kitchen after the walls come down. 

We chat about how we can’t believe none of us have been here yet, how the lovely the heavy cocktail glasses are, and how pretty our drinks are  – gotta love a mint leaf dusted with sugar. 

Now that we’ve settled in with some drinks, it is time to pick an appetizer. Again, we want to try everything, but decide on the curried deviled eggs (they come with caviar on top, oh yeah) and crab cakes. The deviled eggs were not only gorgeous in presentation, but were the smmmmmmoothest ever. Like, smmmmmmmooothest ever. So good. 

Crab cakes didn’t disappoint either. The breading part was super light (which this cavewoman appreciates) and the meat was lumped goodness is savory flavors.

In between appetizer oohing and ahhing we ordered dinner. We thought about creating a matrix of southern bites and each ordering something different, so we could all try a little of a lot, but we decided to take the “When in Rome” route and went with what else? A BUCKET OF CHICKEN, and chose mashed potatoes & gravy and collard greens to go with our bird.

Our bucket of chicken arrived in a what else than a  silver champagne bucket? Again, Garza, you devil. That is my kind of bucket. The mashed potatoes, gravy and collard greens were served family style. Two of us were in love with the greens, and the other with the potatoes. Only if we were picking favorites, though. 

So, how was the chicken? When I first took a look I was afraid it would be overdone. The outside looked too amazingly brown and crispy to be nice and juicy on the inside. I kinda felt like Ralphie in a Christmas Story when he opened the bunny pajamas outfit thing from his aunt. My sad face was getting ready to turn on, but then I pushed a wing aside for a big breast and gently pinched a piece of crispy skin off with a little bit of meat. Holy moly. This was the closest thing to my Mimi’s cookin’ I had ever eat in a restaurant, or any where other than my Mimi’s. 

The outside was amazingly crispy and golden brown, and by some magic preparation and cooking ,  the inside was tender and juicy. I MEAN CRISPY ON THE OUTSIDE, PEOPLE AND JUICY ON THE INSIDE like I’ve had before. That good. 

Next time, chicken picture for sure. =) 

Indoor Urban Farm Coming to Big D – Good Karma, a t-shirt, free lettuce and more!

Good Karma, a t-shirt, free lettuce and more!

There is a guy in Dallas that wants to start an urban farm in Deep Ellum, and I want to help him.

I just backed his project with SEVENTY-FIVE of my hard earned bucks via Kickstarter, because I really want this to happen (and, I really want that tshirt and naming rights of a harvest!, not to mention a month’s worth of lettuce – I know, right?)

You can read all about Jake’s Terra Tech Farms and his plan to build an indoor hydroponic farm in Deep Ellum and provide fresh, sustainable, pesticide-free products to Dallas in The Advocate (I love this magazine!) or D Magazine’s Side Dish. It sounds like the plan is to start on the farm before the end of summer. 

Wishing Jake and his team all the best! 

Now, LETTUCE get growin’!

The Greenville Avenue Food Truck Park – It shall be called Truck Yard

As most in Dallas, Fort Worth, The DeeEffDub and Austin know, Food Trucks and Food Truck Parks are all the rage lately. The concept has quickly moved throughout our urban landscape and generated quite a buzz for this creative niche market.

Over the last five plus years, the Lower Greenville Avenue area has seen quite a revitalization. It’s been exciting to see all the new restaurants and boutiques open up around 1922House. For years now, the word on the street was that Greenville Avenue was getting a food truck park. Supposedly, it was coming around the same time as the Trader Joe’s grand opening and would be close in proximity. 

Trader Joes is set to open in August.

As I was taking My Humps (Humphrey = World’s Largest Springer Spaniel) for a walk, I noticed some activity in the old Pearson Plumbing location (across from the Trader Joes parking lot). I went back to snap some pics and here’s what we found in progress:

Then, just a few days later an email from Eaterlanded in my inbox and here’s the Cliff Notes

It shall be called Truck Yard.

There will be a main permanent building that houses a restaurant, bar, restrooms (you know you were wondering! And as a resident of the neighborhood, I’m appreciative of this =), and possibly – an ice cream parlor.

There is talk of “tree-house” seating. Whaaaaaat? And I can walk to this place?!?! Right up the 1922House alley!

I’m looking forward to having such a fun place within walking distance of 1922House. Surely, one of my favorite food trucks, Easy Slider, will be one of the first to pop up in this new park. Why is Easy Slider one of my favorites, because they created the Sweet & Lowdown. This little slider is packed full of deliciousness = Angus beef, bacon, goat cheese, and wait for it….strawberry jam!

Wake Up, Drank. Workout, Drank. Be awesome, Drank.

I’ve always heard that raw Apple Cider Vinegar was up there with coconut oil as being a healthy cure all. When I was in elementary school, my mom had a book full of natural home remedies. I loved reading how to cure all sorts of ailments by things you could naturally obtain, grow or mix up on your own. I’ve always been a little bit of a kitchen witch.

In November I started taking supplements on a daily basis in addition to my daily vitamin. I chose a simple addition of Evening Primrose Oil, Turmeric and a Super B Complex. (And…really excited about this….This week I started using the Oil Cleansing Method.)

Since, I’m on a lifetime kick of being more awesome, I also decided to dive into some kitchen witchery and start consuming a healthy tonic with Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV).

Dr. Oz recommends using ACV as part of his Swimsuit Slimdown Plan, and although I’m not following that per say, I do have trip to Cabo coming up in only 11 weeks (what?! what?! I cannot wait!), so I thought I could incorporate some ACV into my “being more awesome” plan to see how that helps.

Reasons why I’m drinking up ACV? It is supposed to reduce sinus infections and sore throats, balance cholesterol, cure skin conditions, prevent muscle fatigue, strengthen the immune system, and more.

This week I added about 2 capfuls of ACV to my water for workouts and at work, I enjoyed a 2 capfuls in water with some organic grapefruit juice.

I was concerned I wouldn’t like the taste, but it is pretty refreshing actually. This morning I added some lemon juice to my ACV and water – yum! The taste was a friendly reminder to myself to enjoy what good things I was doing to and for my mind, body and spirit.
I’m using Bragg Organic Apple Cider Vinegar (raw, unfiltered and it has the mother).

Here’s a Vine of what I was concocting this week before my lunches and workouts. Are you on Vine? Follow me as I post about living a loving, greener, healthier life in Big D. 

Let us MARCH

March is one of my favorite months!

March is the dawning of Spring, a time to sink my hands into the earth, a time to unplug and a time to celebrate the anniversary of getting hitched to my love.

March is also Women’s History Month – yeah, go women!

Today, while checking out my facebook feed I saw Mashable’s highlight on 18 Major TechContributions From Entrepreneurial Women.

A few of my particular favorites 6 (okay 8, well 9) out of the 18 are…

The Acorn System 1, an early 8 bit computer designed by Cambridge student, Sophie Wilson in 1979. Recently, I’ve been alerted to be aware of synchronicities, intuition and inspiration (let’s just say the topic of this post is full of all three).

This little icon is symbolic with “saving” but at one time also represented the physical floppy disk much larger than today’s SD card, yet much smaller in memory. Along with several other iconic symbols, user interface designer Susan Kare created many of the early Apple icons. 
I can’t help but think Grace Hopper helped pioneered the way for Google Translate, since she created the program that transformed code written in one language to another computer language – and she did it in 1952.
Thanks to Alexandra Wilkis Wilson and Alexis Maybank, subscribers receive membership rewards and the inside scoop on luxurious merchandise sales from their 2007 e-commerce creation, Gilt Group. Also listed in Mashable’s 18 are Birchbox founders Hayley Barna and Katia Beauchamp.
You like listening to Spotify while checking your Twitter feed between surfing Youtube channels? Well,  “you’re welcome,” says Radia Perman (take that Al Gore), who created the Spanning Tree Protocol in 1985. The same year I was introduced to the flex capacitor and thought it was just Hollywood science fiction, ha.
And then there’s mathematician and space scientist Katherine Johnson who is responsible for calculating the trajectory Apollo 11 took to the moon in 1969. Kind of a big deal. 
Way to be awesome, ladies. 

Challenge Accepted: Create a Bucket List

So, today I was challenged to create a Bucket List: Write down 5-10 things you’d like to accomplish or experience in your life and why. 
We’ll, I’ve always believed in the importance of writing your goals down. I heard a long time ago that if you write them down your are more likely to achieve them. Maybe it’s because you are putting it out there for God or the Universe? Perhaps putting it in writing is like creating a contract with yourself? 
I’ve written down some goals in the past, and I’m happy to look back at those things that were once just a thought and today, and achievement. 
I told myself that I would accept this challenge without over thinking it (something I tend to do. I love to ponder, to process, to evaluate all the possibilities…). I was only challenged to write down 5-10, so here are the first ten things that came across my mind. 
Ten things I want to do in no particular order:

  1. Travel to Europe (I have some specific spots in mind)
  2. Travel to Asia
  3. Write a book (non-fiction)
  4. Write a book (fiction, most likely a children’s book)
  5. Raise chickens
  6. Buy a beach/lake house
  7. Start a foundation/non-profit
  8. Own my own store (gotta sell all those eggs, right?)
  9. Go on a ghost hunt/stay overnight in a haunted location
  10. Attend a Native American sweat lodge ceremony

November is a time for GRATITUDE!

Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude. – Denis Waitley 

Happy November! 

A campaign very close to my heart, BodyImage3D’s challenge this month is to start a gratitude journal, and since one of my goal’s  this month is to publish at least two blog posts I thought this would a great opportunity to…well…double dip and send two birds out of the park. The questions came from BI3D’s November Challenge. So, what are you thankful for this month? Here are the my answers: 

What are you thankful for? Why? My family. I was blessed with kind, loving and supportive parents. A strong brother that grew into an honorable man who chose a wonderful woman to marry, and together they blessed me with a niece and two nephews that light up my heart. I am so grateful and thankful for my husband. I’m thankful that he knows me so well and still loves me. I’m thankful he’s such a hard worker. I’m thankful for all the fun we have together. I’m also thankful for my friends, my great job, my old house, and each blessed moment I have with them all. 

What can you do this month to give back to your community? This month I donated to St. Jude Children’s Hospital. They are pretty amazing. No St. Jude patient pays a dime for any of their treatment. I wish I had more dimes to spare. 

Where do you see yourself in five years? Five years huh, I hope it goes by like molasses on a winter day.  I’ll be 38. Wow. That number seems un-exciting, but I know my life better than that. It is always full of excitement, sometimes known as change, sometimes not as welcomed but looked back on in reverence. I hope that G and I will be living in either an updated version of our house, or are renting out our updated old house and are living in something a little more modern. I expect us to be in the same area, since we both seem to like it so much and since it’s been home for over six years…establishing roots.
By then, I hope 1922House blog has many more posts.
What opportunities have you been given today that will help you get there?
MANY! I have so many to thank the Good Lord for! My husband (not my husband at the time, but I knew he was pretty special =) believed in me and us enough to invest in our property and took on many years of construction and challenges.
My parents paid for my education. They not only financed and facilitated some of the best years of my life, but left me with zero debt to pay when I graduated. I know it was a gift many parents only wish they could provide for their children and for this, I am ever grateful.
I’ve been given the opportunity to work for a wonderful employer that pays me to do things I love to do which in turn allows me to play house, play in the dirt and live my wonderful life. 
What do your friends and family do to help you be better?
I’m blessed to have such a support group around me. My friends and family encourage me when things are rough, and they laugh and cheer me on in times of joy! 
What are your best qualities?
I think my some of my best qualities are my sense of humor (which can also get me into trouble sometimes), my ability and eagerness to teach. Once a teacher, always a teacher I guess. I still enjoy it though. My resourcefulness and ability to FIGURE IT OUT (or at least try). I don’t traditionally consider myself a risk taker, but looking back on the last 10 years, I have been. You’ll never know if you can fly if you don’t jump, or flap your wings when pushed out of your comfortable nest.

To Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge: Open Sesame

Via my morning and afternoon commute to from Dallas to Arlington and then back, I’ve been watching the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge go up. Anxiously awaiting it’s opening. Not because I’m a bridge architect buff or because I’m passionate about the redevelopment efforts the Bridge supports (although it does interest me). I’m looking forward to it for merely personal gain – and hopefully that is to gain a few minutes back from my morning commute. I spend several minutes of my M-F routine just a few hundred yards from where these pictures were taken. Yes, I took them quickly while driving. Yes, there’s a cop in front of me. What can I say? I live on the edge.

At a family gathering this last weekend, a cousin (that also works for the City of Big D) brought up that he’s shocked that it hasn’t been vandalized yet. Evidently, so it The Dallas Morning News.

Stay tag free Bridge! Crossing my fingers for smooth commute.